A Russian regional official who sparked backlash for vacationing abroad during the war has said he will volunteer on the frontline in Ukraine as he seeks to make amends for his actions.
Maxim Vasilyev, a member of the legislative assembly in the Kursk region which borders Ukraine, came under fire last month for posting a video of himself at a beach resort in Mexico that quickly went viral.
After initially dismissing calls for his resignation as “unfounded and exaggerated,” Vasilyev told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency on Wednesday he was ready to atone for what the public viewed as his display of opulence during wartime.
“I’m going to the 'special military operation' zone soon as a volunteer,” he said, adding that he’s heading to the frontline “but without weapons in my hands.”
Vasilyev noted that the trip had been planned since 2022.
The controversy surrounding his and another regional deputy’s international trips has led Russian governors and party leaders to reportedly discourage local officials from traveling abroad.
Though officials cannot be formally banned from traveling abroad, the recommendations appear aimed at preventing social tensions at a time when Russian troops are regularly filmed speaking out about their living conditions in Ukraine.